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Is your insurance policy ready for hurricane season?

For years, Florida residents enjoyed summer after summer of hurricane-free weather. That was until Hurricane Matthew broke the cycle in 2016. While many thought they were covered, some discovered far too late that their coverage wasn't enough.

Though we may not see another Matthew-like hurricane this year, it doesn't hurt to prepare for the worst. June 1st, the start of hurricane season, is just around the corner. By taking the time now to review this hurricane season insurance checklist, you could save yourself a major headache later on. 

Florida drought increases fire risk

The significant drought that has lasted into spring throughout Hillsborough County has greatly increased the risk of wildfires. At one point in April, Florida had over 100 wildfires active at one time. While so far wildfires have been contained, homeowners throughout Florida have reason to be concerned.

The Tampa Bay Times recently quoted state climatologist David Zierden as saying the dry spell has so far exceeded averages for the state. Already in 2017, wildfires have spread over 126,000 acres throughout Florida. This is more than usually occurs for an entire year. On April 9, the Hernando Beach brush fire grew to 650 acres. On April 17, wildfires closed three highways in Central Florida.

Teens are hard-wired to be riskier drivers

While most people are not surprised by the concept that teens engage in risky behaviors, they might not be aware of the scientific research that backs up this claim. According to a recent study, teens in countries across the world showed risky behavior that peaked until they reached the age of 23 or 24. Unfortunately, this behavior includes teens driving more recklessly than their older counterparts, speeding, and letting themselves get more easily distracted.

Windstorm Damage, "Concurrent" Causes, and Property Insurance in Florida

If you sustain property damage in West Central Florida as a result of windstorm damage along with other causes (such as flooding and fire), and your insurance policy does not cover damage related to all of those causes, will your insurance policy have to provide coverage to repair your home? For instance, let us imagine that a strong thunderstorm strikes in West Central Florida. The storm has very strong winds, but it also produces heavy rains and lightning. A bolt of lightning strikes near your home, and during the storm, your house sustains serious damage as a result of fire from the lightning, flooding from the heavy rains, and wind damage from the strong winds. It is difficult (if not all but impossible) to determine which of these elements caused which particular damage to the structure.

Many drivers appreciate auto safety technology, but do not want self-driving cars

The car manufacturing industry has developed in leaps and bounds. Today, auto manufacturers have included new technology and innovative features to enhance your safety while driving on the road.

According to a recent survey, older drivers are appreciative of these technologically advanced safety features. However, few are willing to go so far as to want a self-driving car. According to Munich Re, an reinsurance company who surveyed older Americans for their views, two-thirds of drivers age 65 and older want to purchase a vehicle with added safety features. However, half indicated they would be uncomfortable purchasing or riding in a fully autonomous car.

Learning More About Climate Change and Tornado Damage

Just this last week, many residents of Florida experienced tornado warnings, and residents in South Florida were affected by damaging tornadoes. Similarly, last fall and winter, residents of West Central Florida saw many communities affected by the devastation that tornadoes can cause. While many meteorologists attributed the rise in tornadoes and tornado damage to last year's El NiƱo, a recent article from iTech Post suggests that climate change may in fact be responsible, at least in part, for tornado outbreaks in Florida and across the country. As such, it is important for West Central Florida residents to prepare for the possibility of further tornadoes this year and in the future.

What do you need to know about the connection between tornado damage and climate change?

Avoiding Car Accidents this Winter

Whether your family is staying in the Tampa Bay area or traveling out of town, it is important to learn more about safety tips for driving in Florida in the winter, as well as for avoiding car accidents if you are heading farther north into regions where you may encounter ice, snow, or other inclement weather conditions. Keep in mind that car accident prevention extends beyond avoiding hazardous atmospheric conditions. It also means being cognizant of the annual influx of drivers during the winter months, as well as an increase in drowsy drivers who have been on the road for too long. Do not forget that you should also take steps to avoid aggressive driving and drowsy driving yourself.

Slip and Fall Accidents at Tampa Bay Business Establishments

If you sustain a personal injury in a slip and fall accident at a Tampa Bay area business establishment, you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a claim for compensation. It is important to recognize that property owners have a duty to keep their premises free of hazards, and to warn guests when there is a potential danger that could result in a slip and fall accident. If you did get hurt, an area of personal injury law known as premises liability law allows you to file a claim against the property owner to seek compensation for your losses.

What does a plaintiff need to prove in order to be eligible for compensation in a premises liability lawsuit? And how do slip and fall accidents happen at Tampa Bay establishments? 

Insurance may increase after an accident, regardless of fault

We cannot control the actions of another driver. This basic fact should come as a surprise to no one, including insurance companies. That is why when you are in a car accident that was not your fault, you do not expect your car insurance premium to rise.

However, according to the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group, many insurance companies automatically increase the premium of drivers involved in a car accident, regardless of fault.

Hurricane storm surge watches and warnings coming in 2017

National and local weather agencies are taking additional steps to help Florida residents better comprehend the risks associated with tropical cyclones. Beginning with the 2017 hurricane season (which starts June 1), the National Hurricane Center will issue storm surge alerts, with maps of affected areas.

The watches and warnings are in addition to the messages and graphics already provided for hurricanes. While reports of a storm's size, wind speed, forward speed, and path have long been part of the hurricane center's updates, this year's notifications will include storm surge watches and warnings, with reports of how much water is expected, and where.

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